This budget-friendly chicken recipe is what we turn to when we want a satisfying, yet effortless, weeknight dinner that utilizes ingredients we already have in our pantry. Here at Goodtaste, we are big fans of all things GOYA foods, especially their creamy coconut milk. This canned staple is the hero of these unctuous braised chicken legs. When combined with our favorite store-bought curry paste, fresh ginger, garlic and a splash of fish sauce, the sauce cooks down to create an incredibly flavorful bath for fall-off-the-bone tender chicken.
Another reason we love this recipe? You don’t have to brown the chicken before it goes in the oven, saving you an extra step. We learned this clever tip from one of our favorite bloggers, Alexandra’s Kitchen, who proved that the prolonged time in the oven plus the fat and natural sugars of the coconut milk help the chicken brown on its own.
Preheat the oven to 400° and season the chicken legs all over with salt; set aside.
In a large sauté pan, melt the coconut oil. Add half of the sliced onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent and beginning to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until it deepens in color, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, brown sugar, fish sauce and 2 cups of water and bring to a gentle simmer. This will look like a lot of liquid, but it will reduce in the oven. Add the chicken legs and turn to coat before arranging skin side up. Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until the liquid has reduced into a thick sauce and the chicken is browned and very tender. If the sauce is getting too thick, gradually add more water. Season with more fish sauce, if needed.
In a small bowl, toss the cilantro with the basil, mint and the remaining sliced red onion to make a quick herb salad.
Transfer the braised chicken legs to shallow bowls and ladle more sauce on top. Pile a generous amount of the herb salad on top of each bowl. Serve right away with steamed rice and lime wedges.
NOTE: Based on what you have on hand, you can toss in a chopped sweet potato to braise with the chicken, fold in a couple of handfuls of spinach at the end for some nutritional oomph, or serve with sautéed bok choy on the side.